New building will help social sciences at Snow pace keep pace with current technology
By Greg Knight
EPHRAIM—As Snow College continues to roll into the 21st century, plans are in the works for a new Social Sciences building on the 129-year old campus.
The plan includes future development of a 50,000 square-foot, high-tech facility near the corner of Center Street and 100 East—though it would mean both the current Family Science Building (FSB) and the historic Greenwood Hall next door would be demolished to make way for new construction.
Snow’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, Steven Hood, said that while the historic nature of Greenwood Hall and FSB are significant, their loss would make way for a new building that will keep pace with modern educational needs.
“We really hate to see a building as beautiful as [Greenwood] go away, but it is crumbling in a lot of places and half of the building isn’t even being used because we can’t retrofit is seismically or shore it up,” Hood said of the building, currently being used for married student housing.
“We’re only using a portion of it, the rest is gutted. It would actually cost the taxpayers too much money to renovate the building. It is the same story with the Family Studies Building… We can’t renovate it, either, with the plans or functions we have in mind.”
Staff and administrators at the school have reviewed modernization and infrastructure improvement plans in recent months, according to Hood, and it was the need for a new social-sciences building that stood out.
“One of the areas that has to be addressed and is most wanting is our Social Sciences Department. The facilities need to be upgraded and, in a master plan that we competed about a year ago, we began to think about what kind of infrastructure we would need to support our educational programs in years to come. Social science rose to the top of that list.”
A new building for the department would reflect the latest in technology, and would allow professors to teach courses in ways they can’t now.
“For example, in our early-childhood education program, our pre-school, there are things we need to be able to teach some of our students that we can’t do currently,” Hood added. “We absolutely need new facilities because the kitchens are 1970s technology at best.”
The department needs more room for its textiles classes, and labs are another big need, Hood said.
“We haven’t been able to teach introductory methodology classes [students] need when they transfer to a four-year college, so this is exciting to think that we would have computer and other labs available for political science, sociology or any of the other programs we have all in one spot,” Hood said.
Right now, those classrooms are spread across multiple locations on campus.
Hood estimates that the new facility would cost between $16-$18 million. In order to pay for the new building, Hood said, The Utah Legislature will eventually have to get involved, though a timeline for lawmakers to allocate funding is currently up in the air.
In the meantime, the college is raising money on its own, anticipating that it will have to provide the bulk of the investment.
“We’re looking at donors and people that are affiliated with the college, that recognize the value of modern social science, to help us out on this,” Hood said.
Utah State Rep. Derrin R. Owens (R-Fountain Green) was himself a social sciences major during his college years, and has long been a friend to Snow College, according to Hood. It is with Rep. Owns’ assistance that the college is seeking funding from the state to pursue the new building.
As chair of the Higher-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Owens is in the right place to help.
One thing in favor of Snow’s plan, Owens said, is that it was the Legislature that came to Snow to present initiatives for possible funding in the next session, not the other way around.
It puts them in an enviable position because, as the leaders of higher education in the state, we can move their project up as a priority in our chamber.”
But there’s also something that could work against getting funding for the building in the next session. It isn’t at the top the college’s own funding-priority list given to lawmakers, though that list is not yet an official request.
“They weren’t on the radar for us with this new social science building just yet,” Owens said. “It’s actually a second-priority request behind higher salaries for their faculty and staff.”